Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

April 11, 2007

The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker

By Cynthia DeFelice
Period: mid-1800's New England
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Twelve year old Lucas is the last member of his family. The rest have all died of consumption (known as tuberculosis or TB to us), which mysteriously affected everyone else in the house except for Lucas. Lucas makes his way to town and finds work as the apprentice to the local doctor. As the doctor starts opening Lucas' eyes to the world of science, he finds himself amazed by what the doctor can do. But still, the doctor is helpless when faced with consumption. But Lucas has heard of cure that says that folks who have died of consumption can come back and infect the living, sort of like a vampire. Doc Beecher says it is nonsense. But if there's a way to treat the dead bodies to prevent others getting infected, why won't the doctor try it? Can Lucas prove the doctor wrong? This is a fascinating story, set in New England, about a real "cure" that was used for tuberculosis. Readers will be amazed at how medicine has come since then!